Implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is not something a business will do just for the joy of the process, it’s typically one of a number of steps taken to streamline the sales process and better understand the interactions your customers have with your sales team and other staff.
One of the biggest issues with CRM implementations is getting buy-in from those who have to use it every day. For a sales rep who is managing a half-dozen opportunities, it’s understandable that they may see the job of updating the CRM system as a chore with little benefit.
Aside from the obvious “carrot or stick” method, there are two ways to try and work around this lack of enthusiasm:
- Ensure the outputs of the CRM system (reports, visibility of interactions between their customers and other internal staff, proper pipeline visibility, and so on) are actually useful to the salesperson and enable them to do their job with less effort.
- Reduce barriers to system access.
The first of these can be tricky to implement if you don’t understand exactly what your sales team are trying to do, and it could easily be the topic of many more blog posts! The second is something we have much more immediate control over, and is a critical part of any CRM system implementation.
The first important thing to remember to enable your sales reps is to only capture information that is actually useful. Forgetting to set sensible data rules and reasonable default values is a sure fire way to stop your team keeping sales prospects up to date.
The next approach is to provide for streamlined access to mission-critical components of your CRM system. In this case, “Streamlined” means access to data without turning on a PC. So what are the other options? The devices your reps already have with them: Their mobile phone, and possibly a tablet device.
Because we’re working in a small form factor we need to streamline not only the user experience, but also the visible data. For most companies this will include your customer lists, pricing information, and opportunity pipeline. For a service oriented business you’ll need to include case history as well.
How do we do this, then? Microsoft Dynamics CRM includes Mobile Express, a simple and rather limited web-based access method for mobile phones. Unfortunately, it’s feature set is too limited for most businesses and the interface is clunky in todays world of sleek iPhones and shiny BlackBerry devices.
The solution is a beautiful add-on for Dynamics CRM called CWR Mobility. CWR Mobility lets us use a native application (i.e. one that looks and feels like it was designed for the device you are using it on) on a BlackBerry phone, iPhone, iPad, or Windows Phone 7. We control exactly what data the user sees, and we can enable data to be synchronised to the device so that it can work even when the sales rep has no mobile phone signal.
There is a real benefit to utilising well-designed apps such as CWR Mobility on mobile phones. Sales reps, especially those who spend a significant amount of time on the road, will appreciate access to their data in a way that doesn’t involve starting up (or even carrying) their laptop.
Many salespeople tend to use their CRM system in big bursts of activity: Sitting down each day or week and updating every open opportunity, spending a few hours trying to get everything up to date. By encouraging many small updates to data – changing a date here, a product there – the effort required is much lower. We recognise that we already use our smart phone to fill in time when waiting for appointments or even in the elevator (Angry Birds anybody?) so why not use that downtime to get our CRM data up to date?
No more mass-updates of data, no more struggling to know what your sales reps are up to, and no more trying to guess how many opportunities may close this month. By putting the power of CRM in the pocket of your sales team and field service crew, everybody wins: easy access to CRM on the road leads to easy visibility of data for management and the reset of the team in the office.